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The Speed of Thought, Part Duh!!! (Or Driving Stick Shift with Javascript) April 18, 2013

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Humor, jQuery, KnockoutJS, Mythology, Problem Solving, Scripting.
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scream_baron_blood_01Sensei is a libertarian – so you can interpret that to mean few rules, respect others freedom, government and busy bodies “leave me the hell alone”, stay-outta-my-way-attitude-person is his motto.  That means the only way to drive is with the stick.  Automatic is for the soccer moms.  Javascript is like driving manual transmission – sometimes you grind the gears.

You’re hero just spent a half hour pouring over some Knockout.js code, wondering why his observableArray went MIA on each push.  Can you see why?

var Question = function (id, question, sortOrder) {
this.Id = id;
this.Question = ko.observable(question);
this.SortOrder = ko.observable(sortOrder);

It’s not Javascript’s fault, it’s Sensei’s fault. Now you can see why he writes in the third person, ’cause it’s easier to remove yourself from these type of dumb mistakes when you can treat your persona as separate person!! If you see the issue, leave a comment before I post the resolution.

Faith – The Time is Now Again July 18, 2009

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Mythology, Personal Development.
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Ceiling unlimited
World so wide
Turn and turn again

Feeling unlimited
Still unsatisfied
Changes never end

Winding like an ancient river
The time is now again

Hope is like an ancient river
The time is now again

Neil Peart



Indulge, play the song, drink in the message and go hug your kids, embrace your family, be thankful for your friends, team members, co-workers.

There is so many new things on the horizon.  For those of us who are lucky enough to practice this technical craft called programming, we can be stymied by all the possiblities, the arguments and skirmishes.  These de-rail you.  Build a fortress against the distractions and ignore your fear of change by embracing the challenge of good arguments.  It’s all a chance for you to improve.

When you arrive at work think of what ways you can engage with others.  Can you practice your techniques in a better way?  Recite the Wolf Creedo and end an argument.  Better yet, start a new one in jest and revel in the ideas.  Bang out some code and fight for the day.  What new things can you add to your team’s arsenal if you inspire someone else?  Are you leading or are you a suit sitting in a chair?  Would someone ask you for help or think that you’re too involved in your own head to deign to talk to them?  Have you built an empire above you or below you?  Is your legacy more important than what you have truly done?

Okay, so you’re code was awful – but did someone else still benefit?  Was your code perfect but never used?  Was your ego hurt yet your company still profitable, keeping families fed?  Did your mistakes help others learn?

What matters is that you engage.  Most times it will be painful.  Developers need serenity to produce but I’m telling you man you’re lucky if you have it.  Life is full of the distractions and once you conquer them, you’ll find greater strength and battle hardened capability.  Work at it. Revel in it, share it.  Be grateful and humble.  Win and go home to the ones you love.  Technology is great, but you as a friend, mother, father, co-worker, neighbor, dude in line at Starbucks or grandma at church are even greater.



Sensei’s Playlist – Pay the Rent with Rock! July 10, 2009

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Mythology, Personal Development.
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You’ve asked for it – well you didn’t actually, BUT HERE IT IS ANYWAY!! Yeahhh!  Music to pump you up.  Rev your ActiveEngine to these tunes, babes, and get stuff done.  Decisively.  As in total victory.

There’s a new page to the site, Pay the Rent with Rock.  Here is the music that get’s me through.  It’s powered by Grooveshark.  Post a comment with a suggestion if you like.  If it cranks and you’re lucky, I’ll include it.  Describe what scenario your song helps you pull things off, helps you get things done, cranks, whatever.

Here’s a sample:


This bloke to the left loves it!!

Resurrection July 9, 2009

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in .Net, ActiveEngine.
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Sounds like the title to a sequel.  Well, perhaps that’s right.   It’s been a long time since my last post, and although many of you may be wondering if I have been morning the fact that there will NEVER be any finale to Deadwood as indeed I have, I have been primarily engaged with work.  Lot’s of work.  I did do a grand standing post naming 2008 the year of consistency and yep that was stupid.  Checking the dates on the blog are a good BS indicator.  My only defense is that I have been consistent at work, and in these times that is an achievement in of itself.

My quest has, though, been very consistent.  Rev up productivity.  A year is like a century in the world of technology and much has contributed to my “growth”.  Ewwww – sounds like I’m about to use the phrase “My journey with you has been amaaaazing.”  So scratch that – I’ve gotten smarter about somethings as circumstances have provided me greater illumination.  Yeah.

For one, I’ve learned about the short comings of .Net.  Big short comings.  Big technical debt short comings with respects to RIA.  Am I a jQuery / CSS bigot?  Nope – you just need the right tool for the job.  With regards to domain logic my strength is .Net.  If you were to ask me to create a business layer for an application I would reach for the #, C#.  That said, I am in agreement with Rob Connery – I need to add him to Pantheon along with Atwood and Spolsky – when he pronounced at MIX:

Embrace your inner scripter and stop building rockets

ASP.Net locks you into a box where if you only use the server side controls and rely entirely on ViewState, you cut your ability to adapt to change in half.  Yes – each time you have to re-compile you’re screwed.  Rely on the HTML emitted by the controls, and you’re screwed.  Try to apply CSS to an autogen’ed menu – well, ahh, you CAN’T!  Moving from the UI to the Domain, you can utilize patterns to reduce coupling and isolate the impact of changes but in some cases you need to configure, not develop.  Adding scripting to your app engine can help your users – that’s those who you are working for – introduce alterations to the solution.

I’m babbling here as I try to re-introduce the blog to people, summarize my direction, and bring new thoughts to the table while trying to remain half way intelligent.  Earlier I mentioned RIA, and in the context of ASP.Net there are some truly great things happening that allow you to combine MS platform with awesome Web 2.0 style techniques.  This post by Dave Ward at Encosia will open your eyes to the new possiblities that jQuery bring to the table for great RIA development with .Net.  That’s without Silverlight.  Enjoy.

Discipline is the Mind Liberator January 24, 2008

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Personal Development, Problem Solving.
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As a corollary to the post Ego is the Mind Killer, a practitioner of ActiveEngine principles will always seek the basics and routine to liberate the mind. Constraints are the best way to innovate, to turn the puzzle upside down, read the paragraph from end to beginning. Constraints force you to make a decision and take action, innovate further why attaining your goal.

Your skill built from years of hard work, trials of failure and above all the alacrity to achieve through struggle will shape your mind to solve problems more quickly. Having the discipline to face criticism when it comes head on tempers your talents like fine steal. Forgery of steel is violent, harsh, but what is born from pounding and fire endures.

Just because you solve something once, doesn’t mean you can not optimize later. Analysis paralysis delays validation of your skills. Fail early, regroup, then win. Maybe that doesn’t happen until the fifth time. Who cares – you’re on deadline so be assured you will be around to try again. When you deliver you actually get the freedom to experiment later on.

Ego Is The Mind Killer January 23, 2008

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Mythology, Problem Solving.
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Years ago when ActiveEngine Sensei attended Kenshu, he was struck by the fact that some of the most humble of the akidoka were the seniors. Every class the students were exposed to shi-doho style of teaching, when O-Sensei would select a technique, one from among thousands, and then select a student at random to demonstrate in front of the class. After demonstrating the technique, the other students would ask questions. Many times these questions forced you to realize how little you knew, while on other occasions the senior’s questions were merely a convention to tell you that you had made a mistake.

But this was not the most brutal part. After the question and answer session finished, O-Sensei would then deliver his critique, which could cover any foible, any weird movement, tone of voice that occurred in your delivery. This was difficult to hear. Some times a senior would be selected to demonstrate the most basic technique, then receive unending criticism.

But one senior explained to ActiveEngine Sensei, who was left discouraged and afraid after many stinging reviews, that this was the best gift you could get from the seniors and O-Sensei.

“What an opportunity. You have people who think enough of you to ask questions, point out errors and give things for you to work on. The harsh style is to train your ego, because your ego just gets in the way.”

Developers need to be shown things – they’re the “Show me guys”, but many fall into the “Show-me-no-don’t-show-me” syndrome where their egos cloud their thoughts.  For those of you who want to get to the next level of performance and build your own ActiveEngine, check your ego barometer every now and then. This way you will open yourself to learning a lot more.

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